Monday, February 17, 2014

U.S Women Headed Back to Gold Medal Game

For the fourth time in five Olympics since women’s ice hockey became a medal sport, the United States is headed to the gold medal game. The Americans routed Sweden, 6-1, in a semifinal match on Monday at Shayba Arena in Sochi, Russia to advance to the final.

It wasn’t even that close.

The Americans took a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes, while outshooting the Swedes, 28-1, in that span. The shots-on-goal margin climbed to 70-9 before it was all over, with U.S. goaltender Jessie Vetter (Wisconsin) coming less than seven minutes of her first shutout in Sochi while seeing limited action.

Megan Bozek had a goal and two assists for the American blueliners, who also provided the game-winning goal by Kacey Bellamy (New Hampshire). Forwards Alex Carpenter (Boston College), Amanda Kessel (Minnesota), Monique Lamoureux (North Dakota) and Brianna Decker (Wisconsin) also lit the lamp for the U.S.

Sweden’s 3-2 shootout victory over the U.S. at the 2006 winter Olympics in Torino, Italy seems more and more like an anomaly, in light of today’s contest. The Americans will now face the winner of today's other semifinal between arch-rival Canada and Switzerland on Thursday (12 a.m. ET) for the gold, which Canada has won in the last three Olympics. The U.S beat Switzerland, 9-0, last week but fell to Canada, 3-2, in preliminary-round play.

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